Ashley here, coming at you from Ecklectia Cafe in Moab, Utah.
This past week we have done a lot of adventuring + traveling.
Last Monday we were in Wickenburg, Arizona where we were able to tent camp for 12 glorious days. Before we left, we were determined to finish hiking Trail A (read the saga here), come hell or no water. During our hike, we ran into a group of volunteers working to maintain the trail, we got to talking to one of the women, and she gave us a few secret spots to check out. But halfway through our hike, we realized that we were nearly out of the 6 liters of water we brought, and immediately began to abort our hike and head for the road (I know, I know). Almost as soon as we got onto the road, trucks began to pass us, and we recognized them as the volunteers we saw on the trail. Stuck between not wanting to look like rookies and wanting to flag them down for a ride or water, the trail Angel revealed herself, pulled over and filled up all 6 of our liters of water + offered to give us a ride. We declined; determined to now finish trail A with plenty of water. I am happy to report that we did in fact complete the trail that day.
We planned on bunkering down for an impending storm in Happy Valley, AZ, but last minute decided to stock up on supplies and head for Sedona regardless of the forecast. Our first stop was at one of our favorite places to hike around; Bell Rock. Only, this time was even better because all the rain had caused the desert to turn into an oasis and every where we looked there were the most beautiful pop-up waterfalls.
We stayed in a rest area that night because more rain was expected. We woke up at 5AM and headed for Courthouse Butte, another famous formation that we had never hiked. I fell into a cactus pretty early on and spent the rest of the day pulling needles out of skin and clothes, good times. We hiked a few trails (about 10 miles in total) and headed to our favorite camping site to take a nap and relax for the evening. When we woke up from our nap, we looked out the window and saw a couple parking themselves FEET from us, with nothing but wide open spaces around….we were annoyed to say the least. We kinda felt bad after because we made it pretty clear that we were frustrated with them, and decided that next time we would react more friendly + welcoming. It’s not often that we camp around others, so it probably wouldn’t kill us to be near someone every once in a blue moon. Meh. Thankfully they left early, so we had the place to ourselves.
We went looking for one of Sedona’s more known Vortex hotspots, Boynton Canyon, and found a trail that took you straight up the formation and away from the droves of people, and when we were tucked in a little cave, we sat + had lunch next to a still-barely streaming waterfall, pure magic. We decided to head back to the van after lunch and look for another hike to do, and saw one right up the street called Fay’s Canyon. Like every parking lot in Sedona, it was jammed pack but we got lucky and scored a spot- a nod from the universe that we took as a good sign of what’s to come. We did the short hike to Fay’s Canyon and unbeknownst to us, you can hike up into the box canyon once the trail ends, and that is exactly what we did. It was incredible + a rare chance to get away from people. A great ending to another successful + eventful day.
The next morning was especially windy, so we took the opportunity to do some van hiking + check out roads that have been catching our eye. We were stoked because we found a ton of primitive campsites that we plan on taking advantage of on our next visit. While driving, we saw a sign for Tuzigoot National Monument, and knew we had to stop to learn more about the Sinagau people the land belongs to. Our National Park Pass had just expired so we picked up our new one while there, and got a National Park Passport while we were at it, I am PSYCHED about it. It turned out to be an awesome stop, and lit a fire in us to see the 2 other National Monuments nearby, Montezuma’s Castle + Well.
That night, we decided we wanted to try out a new camping site, and found a dirt road to drive down. We found a few spots, but wanted to see where the road would lead, and much to our surprise, we started to see what looked like a cult where the road would end. The closer we got, the weirder the place became. A giant heart + peace sign were made out of rocks on a big grass space facing the road, a rainbow bridge could be seen in the distance, and the 3 cars that passed us by all had the same white dream catcher hanging from their rear-view mirror. With no where to turn around, we drove down the hill and headed for the cult. Turns out it was just some hippy healing center that had steam rooms and salt caves and a spa or something. Dream catchers helped identify the cars of guests vs visitors. Liked it better when we thought it was a cult. We turned around and pulled into an empty site next to another van that had the best view of any site we ever stayed. As we were enjoying the sight, our new neighbor and his dog started walking towards us. Sean and I looked at each other and laughed because the universe was testing us already. Turned out to be a really nice guy and his wife was just as rad! They used to work for BLM in Salt Lake City, so they gave us so many awesome recommendations, we felt very lucky to have met them, still bummed we didn’t get their Instagram handle to keep in touch (Jeremy, Pam, + Callie, if you are reading this, reach out!)
We woke up to watch what we assumed (+ were right) would be an awesome sunrise, and then headed for a hike Jeremy recommended, Cockscomb. We got their super early and had the whole trail to ourselves right up until the last mile, it was such a nice way to start the day. Once we finished that hike, we went straight to Bell Rock determined to climb to the top. We quickly hit a spot that we could get Rufio up, but weren’t sure how we would get him down and decided to look for another place to keep climbing. We found a small trail that took us straight up to the top, Rufio was rock climbing better than us (fun fact: Rufio LOVES rock climbing) and we made it straight up to the viewing platform and were rewarded with the most stunning view, epic even.
Wanting to camp alone with no one else around, we went to a secret spot we reserve for times when we need solitude. It seemed like as good of time as any to shave our heads, so I went first. The clippers weren’t working, so we took the attachment off, cleaned them, and then they were as good as new. Sean shaved straight down the top of my head before yelling “oh my god NO!!”….we never put the attachment on, so my head is as shaved as shaved gets LOL! Oh well, thankfully hair grows back.
The next day, knowing it was our last (at least for a little while) day in Arizona, we wanted to check out Montezuma’s Castle + Well and we are so glad we did. Truly incredible! We learned so much, and found ourselves doing research after leaving to learn even more. Next, we wanted to check out what is described as one of the most well preserved Petroglyph/Pictograph sites in the country, and our minds were officially blown. The walls were covered in 1000 year old rock art and showed a functioning calendar that uses sunlight to tell what day it is. Even as a person who searches for rock art often, this was impressive beyond belief.
We left Sedona for Moab, and got here a little earlier than expected, couldn’t contain our excitement! Today (3/20) is Rufio’s 5th Birthday, so we wanted to celebrate with him in our favorite place. We plan on being here until summer starts, so if you’re in the area, shoot us a message and let’s hike or climb together!